A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46



The last section dealt with the frequency with which different sections of the adult civilian population visited cinemas, Members of the Forces were excluded from the inquiry and the habits of children will be dealt with later.

Those who went to the cinema once a week or more often may be regarded as cinema enthusiasts, and these are more open to the influence of cinema publicity than are other civilians. It is worth while, therefore, to analyse the composition of this group to compare it with the composition of the adult civilian population.

In the present section those who went to the cinema once a week or more are regarded as a group, and the proportions of this group having different characteristics, e.g. age, sex, occupation, are shown and compared with corresponding proportions of the whole sample.

Analysis by Sex

Table 12
% cinema enthusiasts % whole sample
Men 39 44
Women 61 56
SAMPLE: 1771 5639

Women are rather better represented in the enthusiastic group than are men, but the difference is not a very large one.

Analysis by Age

Table 13
Age % cinema enthusiasts % whole sample
14 – 17 13 5
18-40 57 42
41 - 45 11 13
46 - 65 17 30
Over 65 1 8
Unclassified 1 1
SAMPLE: 1771 5639

It is clear that the younger age groups are more fully represented amongst the enthusiasts than are the older. Of the enthusiastic group, 70% were aged under 41, but of the sample 47% are in this age group. It is thus mainly the younger groups that can be influenced by cinema publicity, and it would not be very profitable to publicise messages particularly intended for the older groups in this way.

Analysis by sex and by age shows that both young men and young women are better represented amongst the enthusiasts than older men and women.


Analysis by Marital Status

Table 14
% cinema enthusiasts % whole sample
Married & Widowed 56 74
Single 44 26
SAMPLE: 1771 5639

It will be remembered that single people went to the cinema rather more frequently than married people and that this was related to the age composition of the married and single groups. More than half the enthusiastic group are married, but married people form about three-quarters of the population.

Analysis by Economic Group

Table 15
Economic Group % cinema enthusiasts % whole sample
Lower 80 74
Middle 15 20
Higher 3 5
Unclassified 1 1
SAMPLE: 1771 5639

Amongst enthusiasts the lower economic groups are somewhat better represented than the higher. However, the difference is not very great and it should be remembered that in the middle and higher economic groups a greater proportion go to the cinema once a fortnight or less and a smaller proportion never go to the cinema than in the lower economic group.

Analysis by Occupation

In the table below the different occupations are grouped. The factory group includes workers in heavy and light industry, both munitions workers and others. “Other Manual Work” includes agriculture, mining, building and transport and miscellaneous workers.

Table 16
% cinema enthusiasts % whole sample
Housewives 24 31
Factory workers 34 25
other manual workers 16 17
Clerical, distributive 20 16
Managerial & Professional 4 6
Retired & Unoccupied 2 6
SAMPLE; 1771 5639

Factory workers and the clerical and distributive group account for 51% of the enthusiasts but only for 41% of the sample.

Housewives and the retired and unoccupied form only 26% of the enthusiasts but 37% of the whole sample. These groups are, therefore, somewhat under represented. Managerial and professional workers are also somewhat under represented.


Analysis by Size of Town

Table 17
%cinema enthusiasts % whole sample
Large town (over 300,000) 32 27
Medium town (50,000 - 300,000) 30 25
Small town (under 50,000) 30 32
Rural areas 8 16
SAMPLE: 1771 5639

People living in large and medium sized towns are rather better represented amongst enthusiasts than people living in small towns, and those living in the country are under represented.

It was pointed out in the previous section that regional differences were related to the proportion of people living in towns of different sizes and in rural areas, which vary considerably from one region to another.

Analysis by Region

Table 18
% cinema enthusiasts % whole sample
Scotland 11 11
North 8 6
North-West 17 14
North-East 8 9
North Midlands 5 7
Midlands 11 9
Wales 5 6
E. Anglia 4 6
South 4 6
South-West 4 7
South-East 4 4
London 18 15
SAMPLE: 1771 5639

In general those regions where large sections of the population live in the country and in small towns are somewhat under represented.

The North West, London, the North and the Midlands together account for 54% of the enthusiasts, but only for 44% of the population.

Summing up this short section, it may be said that those enthusiasts who go to the cinema once a week or more, are drawn from all sections of the adult civilian population; but that certain sections are somewhat better represented among them than are others.

A relatively high proportion of enthusiasts are young people. In fact 70% of the enthusiasts are younger than 41. Women are represented in the group somewhat better than men. About a third of the enthusiasts are factory workers and about a fifth work in offices and shops.

The vast majority of them (92%) are towns-people. In the country the cinema is less important. They are scattered over all urban areas of Great Britain with no important regional differences.

It should be stressed that this section and the previous section deal only with the adult civilian population.

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